The Rosetta Stone and the Rebirth of Egypt

Posted By: Willson
The Rosetta Stone and the Rebirth of Egypt

John Ray, "The Rosetta Stone and the Rebirth of Egypt"
English | 2007 | ISBN: 1861973349, 186197339X | 200 pages | EPUB | 3.8 MB

What does the Rosetta Stone tell us about the past? What treasures of Egyptian literature can now be read, thanks to its decipherment? What does it tell us about the history of writing and the story of our own alphabets? How do decipherments work and how can we know if they are right? Who owns the Rosetta Stone and what happens if we start to return pieces of the past to countries who claim them? These are some of the fascinating questions which are explored in this introduction to one of the true Wonders of the World.

The Rosetta Stone has been in the British Museum for 200 years and is the single most visited object in the entire collection. A pharaoh's forgotten decree, recorded in 3 scripts, the stone is the key to the lost hieroglyphs of ancient Egypt, a mystery which had intrigued men of science since the end of the Roman empire. One of the world's true great wonders, attracting awed pilgrims by the tens of thousands each year. This book tells the Stone's story, from its discovery by Napoleon's expedition to Egypt to its current –and controversial– status as the single most visited object on display in the British Museum.

A pharaoh's forgotten decree, cut in granite in three scripts–Egyptian hieroglyphs, Egyptian demotic, and ancient Greek–the Rosetta Stone promised to unlock the door to the language of ancient Egypt and its 3,000 years of civilization, if only it could be deciphered. Capturing the drama of the race to decode this key to the ancient past, John Ray traces the paths pursued by the British polymath Thomas Young and Jean-Francois Champollion, the "father of Egyptology" ultimately credited with deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphs. He shows how Champollion "broke the code" and explains more generally how such deciphering is done, as well as its critical role in the history of Egyptology. Concluding with a chapter on the political and cultural controversy surrounding the Stone, the book also includes an appendix with a full translation of the Stone's text.

Rich in anecdote and curious lore, The Rosetta Stone and the Rebirth of Ancient Egypt is a brilliant and frequently amusing guide to one of history's great mysteries and marvels.

John D. Ray is Sir Herbert Thompson Professor of Egyptology at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Selwyn College. He has previously held posts in the British Museum and at the University of Birmingham, and has been a Visiting Professor at the Universities of Yale and Chicago. He writes regularly for The Times (London), TLS, and The London Review of Books. A well-known radio commentator, he presented the recent BBC-TV documentary "Ramesses the Great". He is the author of Reflections of Osiris (Profile 2001) which David Starkey called 'a triumph' and Tom Holland 'the best introduction to ancient Egypt I've read' (Daily Telegraph).

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